Army veteran dubbed modern-day King Canute after bid to stop sea eroding his home

  • Video report by ITV News Reporter Ben Chapman

An army veteran from Norfolk has been dubbed a modern-day King Canute after he embarked on an ambitious plan to save his cliff top home from encroaching waves.

Lance Martin's chalet sits above a beach on England's east coast, but coastal erosion means it is in danger of being consumed by the waves it overlooks.

Over the past few years, the cliffs at Hemsby have receded by approximately 30 feet.

Lance Martin's chalet sits above a beach on England's east coast. Credit: ITV News

Every storm brings big waves; every wave chips away more of Mr Martin's garden, bringing the sea closer to his home.

Seven years ago, severe weather brought devastation after five properties were lost to the sea in one night, but Mr Martin is determined his house won't become one of them.

ITV News Correspondent Ben Chapman spoke to Mr Martin on the beach in front of his Norfolk home

He is spending tens of thousands of pounds on makeshift defences in a bid to hold back the waves until more a permanent erosion prevention system can be put in place.

Speaking to ITV News, he said: "I want to save my property and the only way I can do that is by taking and doing things myself.

"There are things afoot with the council and government to get some kind of sea defence down here, but that might take two years.

"In the meantime it's very much look after yourself and do the best I can."

Mr Martin is using a digger to construct makeshift barriers to hold back the sea. Credit: ITV News

He says his project is to hold back the force of the sea, not prevent it entirely.

"As long as it can slow down that force and the relentless waves then I've got some kind of chance. If I didn't think I had a chance I wouldn't be stood here," he conceded.

If his project isn't successful, the worst case scenario will see him move his property further inland by a hundred metres - something he's already obtained permission to do.

But he hopes it won't come to that and he will be able to hold back the tide for just a while longer.